I have been teaching group fitness for many years and I have a student who never gets sore in her chest from doing push-ups. She gets sore in her back and arms, but not chest. She is a young woman who is very lean with not much muscle yet. I have tried every exercise and modification possible to try and improve pectoral strength. She will be joining the military in a month and needs to be able to do several push-ups. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Push-ups are a bodyweight exercise that can strengthen several different muscle groups, depending upon how you place your arms and legs. So to begin with, is she doing ‘girl’ pushups on her knees or on her toes? How far apart are her feet if she is on her toes? Now the big question is how far apart are her hands? The closer together her hands are the nore she will work her arms, the wider apart her hands are, the more she will work her chest. Ofcourse, be she her backside forms a straight line in the plank position (pushup starting position). Also, her chest needs to come down within about 4 inches of the floor in the down position.
I could go on and on about pushups and their many variations, but I hope you get the idea of what to check for. Let me know if you need additional info. Coach Brad
Karen, I just read your response so here are a few more suggestions: 1. Once she is able to perform 20 pushups to the military standard (which may have changed since I went through ROTC bootcamp in the 70’s), have her place her toes on an elevated step or even a BOSU ball or swiss ball. 2. Or, place a weight plate on her back (start easy) but go heavier if she can tolerate it.
I think TRX is great, but the leverage advantage if doing an incline pushup can be decieving. Most likely she is feeling the TRX nore because some stability is required from the chest muscles that the floor doesn’t require.
Hello Karen Isbister,
I do not get sore from push ups, either. Even when I add a load and raise my feet. I will feel the burn, but, that is it.
You could also try using elastic resistance around the back from hand to hand. Do more repetitions, too; do not stop at a set number, keep going to failure. This could take a while, but it is worth it.
Less soreness when in the military, that is a plus.